Skip to main content

Full text of "VCU magazine"

See other formats

:S^ 1 


Edmund F. Ackell, D.M.D., M.D. 

Academics. Research. Public service. Each a vital part 
of everyday life at a major urban university. And the 
yardsticks by which the impact of a university, its faculty, 
and its students are measured. 

As society looks to universities for help with many of its 
complex problems, universities are faced with the chal- 
lenge of providing knowledge which will help pave the 
way for solutions. At Virginia Commonwealth University 
we are acutely aware of the vital role universities must 
play in today's society. During the past year VCU realized 
a number of achievements in research, academics, and 
public service — achievements which signal not only an 
awareness of this role, but a commitment to it. 

In research VCU retained its status as one of the coun- 
try's top 80 universities in terms of federal dollars received 
to support basic and applied research. Last year VCU 
received $28.7 million to fund research projects on the 
Medical College of Virginia and Academic Campuses. 

As one of the nation's leading university health science 
centers, the MCV Campus counts among its faculty a 
number of scientists of international stature who are 
engaged in innovative research activities. Currently a 
university investigator is heading one of the country's 
largest Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored 
studies designed to test the safety of drinking water. In the 
university's five statewide family practice centers a $2.7 
million grant is supporting research into the contribution 
of genetic and familial factors to cardiovascular disease 
and the use of noninvasive technology to detect early 
stroke warnings. Surgeons in the university hospitals are 
working with a new surgical technique for reconstruction 
of the breast without the use of synthetic implants. 

VCU's contributions to research extend beyond health 
care. For example, in the Department of Biology a 
$50,000 grant from the Virginia Endowment for the 
Environment is helping educate Virginia's teachers about 
toxic substances. Funds from a National Institutes of 
Mental Health grant are being used in an investigation of 
incarcerated rapists conducted by professors in the Depart- 
ment of Sociology and Anthropology. Another NIMH 
grant is funding a project aimed at helping educators work 
with children from broken homes. That project is under 
the direction of a professor in the Department of 

Activities in the classroom and the conference room 
complement those which take place in the laboratory. 
During the past year VCU planned for the implementa- 
tion of five new graduate degree programs, saw many of its 
faculty gain national and international recognition, and 

served as host for a number of major conferences and 

The five new graduate degree programs, all of which 
admitted their first students during the fall semester, are 
the M.Ed, in early childhood education, the D.P.A. in 
public administration, and Ph.Ds in health services 
organization and research, business administration, and 
urban services. With these additions VCU now offers 146 
degree programs including 60 bachelor's, 63 master's, 20 
doctoral, and three first-professional. 

As for faculty accomplishments, VCU professors were 
selected to serve on some of the country's most prestigious 
professional organizations such as the Pan American 
Society of the American Association of Biochemical 
Societies, the Academy of Pharmaceutical Science, the 
National Association of Black Sociologists, and the 
American Board of Pediatrics. Participation in interna- 
tional exchange programs allowed one professor of Ger- 
man to spend a year at the University of Paris, while a 
professor of political science taught for a term in 
Wolverhampton, England. Other faculty received Ful- 
bright Fellowships, National Research Service Award 
Fellowships, and a National Endowment for the Humani- 
ties Fellowship. 

At home, faculty participated in over 100 conferences 
which VCU hosted during the past year. Among the 
conferences was an international symposium on the 
"Electronic Structure and Properties of Hydrogen in 
Metals" which attracted representatives from Japan, West 
Germany, and several other countries. 

A major part of VCU's advances in academics during 
the past year involved the opening of several new facili- 
ties. On the MCV Campus one of the state's largest acute 
care hospitals opened in June. While serving as a quality 
facility for patient care, the 539-bed, $60 million building 
provides an upgraded site for the training of future profes- 
sionals in all health care disciplines. A new $8 million 
facility to house the MCVA^CU Cancer Center also 
opened during the summer. 

On the Academic Campus a $5.6 million Performing 
Arts Center was completed. Along with providing addi- 
tional teaching and rehearsal space for the Departments of 
Theatre and Music, the center features a contemporary 
performance hall which has already played host to the 
Vienna Symphony. 

Outside the classroom VCU continued to distinguish 
itself as several student athletes earned honors. Two 
players achieved all-Sun Belt status in men's basketball, 
while a third was named Freshman of the Year. A member 

of the men's soccer team also received all-Sun Belt 
honors. In women's sports the VCU softball team won the 
state championship, and a member of the basketball team 
was named all-state. 

University involvement in a variety of projects made 
the past year an active one tor public service. Under the 
auspices of the Department of Urban Studies and Plan- 
ning, work began on a series of revitalization projects in 
the downtown Richmond area. Meanwhile, a VCU 
professor of gerontology and psychology was instrumental 
in developing the first Alzheimer's and Related Diseases 
Support Group of Greater Richmond, an organization 
designed to help family members cope with victims of 
Alzheimer's, a progressive deterioration of the brain cells 
which afflicts over 1 million Americans. 

As part of its public service eftorts VCU reaches out to 
nontraditional students through its Division of Continuing 
Studies and Public Service. The division offers a variety of 
courses and activities designed to meet the needs of adult, 
part-time students and other members of the community 
who encounter difficulty attaining educational goals. 
During the past year the division served nearly 100,000 
members of the community and offered over 2,000 contin- 
uing education activities. These included credit courses 
and special degree programs, as well as noncredit classes 
for cultural enrichment and professional growth. 

Two other events are representative of the university's 
public service efforts. During 1981-82 the Virginia Insti- 
tute for Law and Citizenship established its headquarters 
in the university's School of Education. The institute, 
through its efforts to teach children about law and citizen- 
ship, strives to reduce the number of juvenile crimes in 
the state. Also, the Virginia Birth Defects Registry was 
established at the university with the aid of a grant from 
the Developmental Disabilities Unit of the Virginia 
Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. 
The registry provides an organized system for monitoring 
children born with birth defects in Virginia. 

The university's involvement in public service activi- 
ties, as well as its achievements in research and academ- 
ics, signify VCU's commitment to being an institution to 
which society can turn in dealing with many of its prob- 
lems. We share that commitment with you in the pages 
that follow. 

The dynamics of dance 

ince its birth in 1980 the university's 
. dance/choreography department has nearly 
doubled the size of its faculty and the number ot 
majors, has brought several influential figures in the 
world of dance to the university, and is now operating 
in a renovated building which provides state-ot-the- 
art facilities for all forms of dance. These factors, 
combined with the continued influence of VCUDAN- 
CECO, a performing company, are evidence of the 
emergence of dance as a popular course of study at the 

The 40 students majoring in dance receive training 
in all forms of the art: modern dance, ballet, tap, 
folk, Afro-Caribbean, and ballroom. According to 
Anne Andersen, department chairman, modern 
dance is the focal point of instruction throughout the 
four-year program. "We give students a steady diet of 
modern dance techniques," said Andersen. 

Classes in music, history of dance, improvisation, 
composition, and choreography add to a well-rounded 
curriculum which includes a semester course in 
kinesiology. That course helps students understand 
the anatomical, physiological, and physical aspects of 

human motion and their application to dance. 

The curriculum is bolstered by visits from 
nationally-known dance professionals who come to 
the university to teach and perform. For example, in 
September Poonie Dodson, a dancer/choreographer 
based in Chicago, came to VCU to teach a master 
class in modern dance and to present a program of 
solo dances and theatre pieces. Dodson, whose 
training began in the theatre department at VCU, has 
performed with Nan Solbrig's Chicago Moving 
Company and with the Chicago Repertory Dance 
Ensemble. He recently created works for Bess Snyder 
and Company in Los Angeles and for Akasha and 
Company in Chicago. Jeff Duncan, artist-in-residence 
at the University of Maryland-Baltimore, gave a 
performance of solo dances in early November. 

Students seeking admission into the department 
must successfully complete a rigorous application 
process. An audition is the major factor upon which 
the admission decision hinges. The audition is set up 
as a regular dance class during which faculty evaluate 
students' ability and promise. 

Following the audition, prospective students are 
interviewed. "We try to find out what they are looking 
for in dance," said Andersen. "We gauge their 
interests and let them know what kind of education 
they'll receive from us. Again, our emphasis is on 
modern dance, and we make that clear. We are not a 
training program for ballet." 

Students are also evaluated on the strength of their 
previous dance experience and the instructors with 
whom they've studied. Recommendations from past 
instructors are mandatory. 

Recruiting quality students has been one of 
Andersen's main concerns since she arrived as 
department chairman in August 1980, one month 
before the department began operation. She has 
recruited heavily in the Northern Virginia and 
Tidewater areas. In addition to sending literature to 
schools throughout the state, Andersen has made 
visits to many high schools in an effort to generate 
interest in VCU's program. 

Prior to the establishment of the department, 
courses in dance and choreography were offered 

through the university's Department of Health and 
Physical Education. Two faculty members, Frances 
Wessells and Patricia Pape, taught the majority of the 
courses in a studio set aside for dance instruction in 
the university gymnasium. 

Two years after the creation of a formal department 
came a move to a different building, the former 
Cathedral High School, on the far western edge of the 
Academic Campus. The building was badly in need of 
renovation to accommodate its new occupants, 
renovations which were promised when Andersen 
accepted the position of department chairman. 

Two years of planning and four months of renova- 
tion have resulted in an expanded rehearsal and 
performance facility which meets the needs of a 
growing department. Throughout the process care was 
taken to ensure all details were correct, such as 
construction of floors with the necessary amount of 
resilience and the placement of bars at the appropriate 

The two-story building houses eight studios, one of 
which is designed for performances, and provides 
ample lounge space and locker rooms for men and 

women. The first floor contains two large studios for 
modern dance and ballet and three smaller studios for 
specialty classes. The second floor features a large 
performing studio as well as two smaller ones. 

The performing studio includes a sophisticated 
lighting system that is linked into a sound and 
lighting control room. "It's unusual to find a system 
like this in a renovated building," said Andersen. "It's 
generally found in sleek, new dance studios." 

All of the studios have special floor surfaces and 

most have bars and mirrors. "The rooms are designed 
to be as adaptable as possible," Andersen explained. 
"This allows different types of dance to be performed 
in them." 

While adding teaching and rehearsal space, the 
renovated facility also presents an opportunity for the 
department to achieve another of its objectives: the 
formation of a community dance school. While plans 
are still incomplete, the facility would provide a site 
for area children to learn dance techniques. Andersen 
believes the community dance school would aid 
recognition of the VCU dance/choreography depart- 
ment in the greater Richmond area and enhance the 
growing city-wide interest in dance. 

The formation of the dance department has also 
dictated a new role for VCUDANCECO. Established 
by Wessells six years ago, VCUDANCECO was a key 
factor which helped secure formal approval for the 
establishment of the department. A company which 
has toured throughout the state area in an attempt to 
build interest in modern dance, VCUDANCECO will 
spend most of its time on campus this year. "Staying 
on campus will help us increase awareness of dance 
within the university and bring dance closer to the 
student community," said Andersen. 

While Andersen is generally pleased with the 
development of the department thus far, she and 
other faculty members are not satisfying themselves 
with their accomplishments. A proposal to establish a 
graduate program in dance/choreography has been 
submitted to the State Council ot Higher Education. 
If approved, the graduate program would commence 
in 1984-85. 

Easing the pain of divorce 

Over most of the past two years since her 
divorce Ann Miller has had to face a kaleido- 
scope of challenges for which she believed she 
was totally unprepared. No longer a wite hut now a 
single parent, Ann has struggled to find a new life for 
herself and her two teenage daughters. 

For a while it was a wrenching struggle that left her 
exhausted. Forced to sell her house and begin a new 
career, she also sought to balance her own anxieties 
with the strains the divorce had heaped upon her 
children. Pat, 12, had become withdrawn, and Julie, 
10, developed a cough for which there appeared no 
clear explanation. 

For many people the complex endings of a marriage 
can produce disturbing psychological, social, and 
economic stresses. The duration and intensity of such 
strains on both adults and children vary, but left 
unchecked they can often become chronic and lead to 
long-term maladjustments. 

To forestall the development of such reactions in 
families like the Millers, researchers in the clinical 
psychology department at VCU initiated a Divorce 
Adjustment Project to help ease the stress of transi- 
tion to the single-parent family. 

It was during a tense period of accumulating 
difficulties that Ann heard about the project. Acutely 
aware that outside counseling was needed, the Miller 
family volunteered to participate in the study. 

Begun in 1979 with funding from the National 
Institutes of Mental Health, the three-year study is 
under the guidance of Dr. Arnold Stolberg, assistant 
professor, and Patricia CuUen, project director. 
Implemented through the Chesterfield County school 
system, the Divorce Adjustment Project makes use of 
small support groups as vehicles to reduce divorce- 
related stress. 

Stolberg is confident that long-term psychological 
damage is not an inevitable after-effect of divorce. He 
believes that with timely intervention parents and 
children need never suffer prolonged periods of stress. 
So far, preliminary data support this premise. 

As part of the project parents and children meet in 
separate groups. The groups provide an atmosphere for 
exploring and coping with the confusing feelings of . 

helplessness, anger, loneliness, and rejection that 
often develop immediately after the break-up of a 

Group leaders trained by the research team teach 
children like Pat and Julie to express their feelings 
about their parents' divorce. Expressing anger is 
particularly important, explained Cullen. Construc- 
tive ways of handling such emotion is a major part of 
the 12-week sessions. "The child support group," said 
Cullen, "is the children's time to talk and be heard."' 

For single parents like Ann, the ten sessions are 
designed to encourage mutual support and sharing 
between single parents who are in similar situations. 
Issues such as negotiating with a former spouse, 
making family decisions, or managing finances are 
among the topics participants explore and seek to 

Over the three-year period of the grant the 
researchers are evaluating the child and the adult 
support groups in various combinations: meeting 
alone, simultaneously, or together. 

"We've found the most successful group combina- 
tions are those in which the child and parent meet in 
separate but parallel sessions," said Stolberg. "In other 
words, it became a family affair." 

The researchers are encouraged by these findings. 
Although not all of the data will be evaluated until 
July 1983, the researchers have already trained at least 
one person in almost every elementary and middle 
school in Chesterfield County to lead both a parent 
and a child support group. They have written a 
children's support group manual detailing the 
procedures to be followed for conducting the groups 
and have sent out, upon request from other school 
systems nationwide, over 200 copies. A training film, 
made in conjunction with students in the university's 
School of Mass Communications, details the steps to 
use in conducting a support group for children. 

Today when Ann Miller talks about her divorce she 
describes herself as two women: the frightened and 
abandoned wife, and the new stronger and hopeful 
single parent. "All of us benefited from the groups," 
she said. "Our involvement prevented a very difficult 
period from becoming a crisis." 

» * » 
« t t 

» ♦ t t r 

Combating Akheimer^s disease 

Henry Fonda, portraying an SO-year-old man in 
the film "On Golden Pond," goes out to pick 
berries, loses his way, and forgets how to get 
home. Martha Blake, 72, of Knoxville, Tennessee, 
sits all day staring out of window and speaks to no 
one. Peter Harrow, 58, of Portland, Maine, once a 
highly-regarded engineer, can no longer remember his 
name or the names of anyone in his family. 

One of these people has mild and occasional 
forgetfulness that sometimes occurs during normal 
aging. One is depressed, a fairly common phenome- 
non in elderly individuals facing a variety of stressful 
situations. A third has Alzheimer's disease, an 
irreversible, progressive degeneration of the brain cells 
which leads to a decline in psychological and 
cognitive abilities. 

In most cases there is little need to pay undue 
attention to occasional forgetfulness, while the worst 
effects of depression can often be treated. But for 
individuals afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, there is 
no treatment or cure. 

Diagnosing Alzheimer's disease is difficult. Its initial 
symptoms are vague, nonspecific, and easily confused 
with those of other disorders. Consequently, it can 
often take up to two years of medical tests to rule out 
all other possibilities. 

Confined to the brain, the progress of the disease is 
different for each person. At first only the individual 
with the illness experiences the imperceptible 
symptoms — a forgotten name or difficulty in concen- 
tration. Gradually, however, families, friends, and 
employers become aware of abnormal behavior 
patterns including increased memory loss, confusion, 
and the inability of the afflicted person to perform or 
complete simple tasks. 

These inexplicable changes in essential functions 
are a source of deep frustration for the victim of the 
disease. As the disease progresses, it also creates an 
almost unendurable ordeal for family members. 
"When I first began my research on the disease I had 
no idea of the degree of suffering these families went 
through," said Dr. Stephen Harkins, associate 
professor of gerontology, psychiatry, and psychology. 

Harkins' initial contact with families of Alzheimer's 

sufferers began purely by chance while he was 
researching an early diagnostic procedure for the 
disease in 1975 in Seattle, Washington. Family 
members in the area who were referred to him would 
come to his laboratory to obtain information about 
the illness. 

"1 was struck by the fact that during the time they 
were waiting for a confirmation they went through 
chronic crises that continued even after the symptoms 
had been identified," Harkins recalled. 

Harkins, who came to VCU in 1979, said he was 
attracted to the university's gerontology program 
because it would allow him to continue his research 
on Alzheimer's disease. It also enabled him to teach 
students to work with the elderly. 

Soon after arriving at the university Harkins 
attempted to develop a research project that would 
lead to a method for making an early diagnosis. He 
had hoped to set up a data bank of symptoms and 
physical characteristics of the disease based on 
neurological, genetic, blood, and psychological tests. 
However, because of the difficulty in early diagnosis of 
the disease and the need to organize a large number of 
doctors and technicians working exclusively on the 
project, this approach proved infeasible. 

"If we couldn't do that the next step was to work 
with family members, who in their own way are the 
national experts on the natural history of the disease," 
said Harkins. Thus, in the summer of 1981, Harkins 
announced the first meeting of the Alzheimer's and 
Related Diseases Support Group of Greater Richmond. 

Delores Thomson, who lives in a small house in 
Richmond, wasn't thinking about data banks on that 
day in June. She was wondering how she was going to 
keep her sanity. Married to a once vigorous and 
successful insurance executive, for the past 11 years 
she has been the sole provider and caretaker for her 
progressively deteriorating husband, a victim of 
Alzheimer's disease. 

Since her husband is incapable of caring for 
himself, Thomson has been forced to spend countless 
months indoors watching over her husband's wide 
swings in mood and his slow but steady decline in 
competence, speech, and cognition. "I can describe 

him in one sentence," Thomson said. "He is the 
antithesis of the man I Hved with most of my Hfe." 

When Thomson saw an advertisement in the 
Richmond newspapers announcing the formation of 
an Alzheimer's disease support group, she said she 
couldn't believe it. Part of the ad contained a 
description of a typical Alzheimer's patient. "The 
description fit my husband to a 'T'," she recalled. "It 
was as if someone had been living in our house. The 
ad described not only my husband's behavior, but my 
own frustrations, guilt, and anger. When I read the ad 
I told myself this couldn't be true. How could they 

According to Harkins, the support group has four 
purposes and goals. It is designed to first provide 
sharing and self-help. Self-help can include offering a 
ride to one of the meetings or setting up an exchange 
program in which one person will volunteer to watch 
another's family member while he or she goes shopping. 

Another purpose is to educate family members 
about the disease. Information is presented concern- 
ing doctors in the area who specialize in this disease 
and the physical aspects of Alzheimer's and related 

Another goal of the group is to promote improved 

patient care. One area of care which is stressed is 
nutrition. "Alzheimer's patients often eat continu- 
ously, or do not eat at all," said Harkins. "Sometimes, 
in severe cases, patients can no longer use a fork. By 
alerting participants to this possibility we can then 
advise them on what types of food to buy." 

The group's fourth purpose is to draw attention to 
the disease. Harkins believes that the higher the 
visibility of Alzheimer's, the more researchers will be 
stimulated to isolate its causes and arrest its progress. 

In a little over one year the group has become so 
successful that a satellite group has been formed. The 
Richmond group's larger monthly meetings have also 
spawned smaller, weekly meetings. Under the 
guidance of a psychologist and university graduate 
students, five to six family members participate in the 
smaller, more intense counseling sessions. These 
sessions may be the first of their kind in the country. 

Thomson, who is active in the large and small 
groups, said she will do anything she can to help 
foster research into "this horrible disease." Whenever 
she gets the opportunity she speaks on radio and 
television about Alzheimer's. "By spreading the word I 
believe I can help other families avoid the suffering 
mine has endured." 


Revitalizing the capital city 

The first in a series of revitalization plans to 
stimulate renewal in the city is being carried 
out by the university's Richmond Revitalization 

Working under Dr. Morton Gulak, program 
director and associate professor of urban studies and 
planning, are students and faculty from urban 
planning and other departments at VCU, planners 
from the city of Richmond, and a citizens' steering 
committee. All participants are interested in bringmg 
about a resurgence of the urban community through 
creative reuse of buildings. 

The initial project, which is called the Brook 
Crossing Commercial Center Revitalization Plan, 
shows the economic potential of an area of Rich- 
mond's downtown district extending from Broad 
Street north through Marshall Street and from First to 
Madison Streets. It demonstrates, through reuse, 
preservation, and conservation of buildings, how an 
older area of the city can be restored to a vibrant 
business and living setting. The area provides access, 
location, unusual buildings, and the tax advantages of 
reusing older buildings for investors, developers, and 
new business establishments. 

The name of the project reflects the significance of 
Brook Road to the commercial and cultural history of 
Richmond. The proposed commercial center includes 
the Greater Richmond Arts District and its Masonic 
Temple, as well as the Empire and Regency Theatres. 

Entertainment, art, and cultural growth are 
emphasized by the Arts District and are linked with 
the growth of retail stores, offices, restaurants, and 
trade craft shops. The plan of area-wide revitalization 

also provides an opportunity for artists, entertainers, 
those who work downtown, current residents of 
Central Wards, and others to live in restored apart- 
ments above businesses, in studio and loft space, or in 
townhouses proposed for Marshall Street. 

Art displays, theater and musical performances, and 
a public meeting place are proposed for a plaza to be 
developed as part of the Brook Crossing project. 

Jefferson Street is to become a pedestrian walkway 
that can be used by theater-goers, shoppers, and for 
outdoor sales. Benches, lights, information kiosks, 
and other plazas are also proposed to create an 
atmosphere in which people feel comfortable strolling, 
viewing the sights, waiting for performances, and 

A number of other unrelated renewal efforts, both 
within Brook Crossing and outside, enhance the 
potential for revitalization. Within the area the 
Richmond Dairy Building, with its unusual architec- 
ture, is planned for renovation, as well as the expan- 
sion of the firehouse museum. Steamer Company 5, 
and the addition of two restaurants along Broad 

Nearby projects include Project One, a convention, 
hotel, and office complex; the Main Street Station; 
the Freight Station renovation; the Transportation 
Center; Shockoe Slip; and a renewed interest in 
development of the riverfront. 

The revitalization program was initially made 
possible by a gift to the university from a private 
donor. After Brook Crossing, planners are to begin 
work on the Shockoe Bottom area of downtown 


Expecting the unexpected 

A young woman sitting in the waiting room of 
the Antenatal Testing Center had already 
experienced two late-term miscarriages. So 
when she learned she was pregnant tor a third time, 
she wrote a leading bahy magazine and asked where 
she could turn to prevent a third heartbreaking 
miscarriage and save the baby she so badly wanted. 
The magazine wrote back with the advice that she 
come to the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals' 
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which has 
gained recognition as a regional center for problem 

Under the chairmanship of Dr. Leo Dunn, the 
Antenatal Testing Center in the hospitals' Nelson 
Clinic has made great strides in diagnosing fetal 
anomalies and m some cases even treating the fetus in 

"The future holds an entirely new area of medi- 
cine — fetal medicine. Now we treat the mother and 
the newborn, but soon we will also be treating the 
fetus and interfering with detrimental processes that 
are going on in the baby before birth," Dunn ex- 

Dunn pointed out that advances that would have 
been thought impossible just a few years ago have 
already been made at MCV Hospitals. He noted Dr. 
Robert Petres, associate professor of obstetrics and 
gynecology, and Dr. Fay Redwine, assistant professor 
of obstetrics and gynecology, have already drained 
fluid from a hydrocephalic fetus in utero to prevent 
brain damage. In another case MCVH doctors drained 
blockage of a fetal kidney to prevent severe kidney 
damage and possibly death. 

Many of the advances involving treatment of the 
fetus in utero have been made possible through 
sophisticated ultrasound equipment that is so refined 
it is possible to measure the fetus' arms, legs, and 
head, watch its movements in the uterus, and detect 
many abnormalities that otherwise would have gone 
undetected until birth. 

"With the sophisticated ultrasound equipment 
given to us by Beta Sigma Phi, a professional women's 
organization, we literally can count the fetus' toes," 
said Redwine, who directs the genetic testing pro- 

gram. Redwine and Petres counsel and test all of the 
high-risk patients through the Antenatal Testing 

About 25 percent of the pregnant women seen by 
the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology are 
classified as high-risk patients and are tested by the 
ultrasound unit. Established by Petres in 1971, it is 
believed to be the only ultrasound unit of its type. 
"Most ultrasound units are run by radiologists," 
explained Redwine, but here the unit is run by 
obstetricians who are also ultrasonographers. We are 
equipped to perform all the testing available to a 
high-risk patient in one center," Redwine 

In addition to ultrasound, other techniques such as 
amniocentesis and electronic testing are being used to 
diagnose fetal anomalies. Currently, Redwine is 
experimenting with transabdominal fetoscopy which 
permits visualization of the fetus to detect abnormali- 
ties, such as skin and blood disorders, that can't be 
seen in ultrasound. Transabdominal fetoscopy involves 
the insertion of a very fine instrument through the 
abdominal wall to take blood samples or a skin biopsy 
from the fetus. 

One of the most exciting developments in the area 
of fetal medicine at MCV Hospitals will be the 
initiation of a statewide alpha fetoprotein screening 
program that will become part of routine prenatal care 
for all Virginia women. The alpha fetoprotein 
screening of a pregnant woman's blood can detect a 
series of fetal anomalies involving the central nervous 
system including anencephaly, menigomyelocoe, and 
spina bifida. According to Dunn, MCV Hospitals is 
prepared to test blood samples from pregnant women 
throughout Virginia, once the Food and Drug 
Administration gives the okay to such testing 
programs and releases the antibody needed to detect 
the presence of alpha fetoprotein. 

"We are primarily in the area of diagnostics when it 
comes to fetal medicine. However fetal medicine has 
also begun to include therapeutics. In the future, we 
will be treating the fetus as well as the mother and the 
newborn," Dunn concluded. 

An education in real estate 

Developing land for optimum use. Managing 
property to ensure profit. Understanding the 
complex world ot real estate finance. 

Skills in these areas are essential for today's real 
estate professionals. Making certain university gradu- 
ates are equipped with such skills is the goal of the 
Real Estate and Urban Land Development Program, 
a division of the Department of Business Administra- 
tion and Management. Since 1970 faculty members 
in the program have helped prepare students for 
careers in real estate brokerage, land development, 
appraising and investment consulting, site analysis 
and selection, real property management, commer- 
cial and mortgage banking, and a host of related 

Vital to the success of the program is support from 
the Virginia Realtors Foundation, which funds one 
ot the largest endowed university professorships in 
real estate in the country. Since 1972 VCU has held 
that professorship, the Alfred L. Blake Chair of Real 

The decision by the foundation to establish the 
chair at VCU was based on the university's distin- 
guished history of education, the size and diversity of 
its academic programs, its tradition of public service, 
the size of its evening studies program, and its geo- 
graphic location in the state's capital city. 

To date, the foundation has contributed over 
$850,000 to the chair and has nearly reached its goal 
of a $1 million endowment. Only two other univer- 
sities in the country, the University of Florida and 
Ohio State University, have endowments exceeding 
$1 million in support of real estate professorships. 

The Blake Chair was named in honor of the late 

Alfred L. Blake, St., a founder of the Richmond- 
based firms of Mortgage Investment Corporation and 
Alfred L. Blake and Sons, Realtors. He also served 
as a president of the Real Estate Board of Richmond. 

Funds from the endowment are used to stock one 
of the nation's most comprehensive collegiate real 
estate library collections and support a graduate 
program whose alumni work in real estate-related 
fields throughout the country. 

Dr. James Boykin, the university's Alfred L. Blake 
professor of real estate, said support from the founda- 
tion also aids course development, research, and 
publications. One such publication is Major Real 
Estate Markets in Virginia, a quarterly survey which 
provides assistance to state firms engaged in mort- 
gage lending, construction, land development, and 

Monographs and other publications are issued 
several times each year. Among the monographs 
which have been published are Promotional Strategies 
of Realtors, Access to Solar Energy: Who Owns the 
Sun?, and Tax Considerations in Owning Vacation 
Homes. Some of the publications developed by the 
Real Estate and Urban Land Development Program 
are the result of projects conducted by the univer- 
sity's Virginia Real Estate Research Center. The 
center was established in June 1981 as the program's 
research arm. 

The Real Estate and Urban Land Development 
Program has an enrollment of more than 700 stu- 
dents, many of whom are studying on a part-time 
basis while employed by area realty firms in positions 
which provide practical experience to augment 
classroom instruction. 


Brain cancer'a call for nutrition 


tarve a cancer; feed a patient" may become 
, the new health adage of the 1980s. 

That's what Dr. Harold Young, professor 
of surgery/neurosurgery, and a team of university 
researchers are trying to discover. Young, along with 
biochemist Dr. William Banks, Jr. and research 
dietitian Sandra Jennings, are studying amino acid- 
restricted diets and their possible use in the treatment 
of patients with primary brain cancer, particularly 
glioblastoma multiforme. The latter is. the most 
malignant of all brain tumors. 

Researchers have already determined that diets low 
or deficient in certain amino acids result in decreased 
tumors in mice. However, diet deficiencies produced 
other detrimental effects on the mice. Therefore, 
through a contract from the National Cancer Insti- 
tute, a study was launched at VCU and the University 
of Tennessee to determine the effect of restricting only 
one essential amino acid from the diet of patients with 
primary brain cancers. 

"The theory was that you could starve a tumor 
without starving the patient," said Young. In the 
research at both VCU and the University of Tennes- 
see the effect of an amino acid-controlled diet was 
tested on 43 brain cancer patients. The findings: this 
form of diet restriction therapy was at least as effective 
as other forms of therapy, and in some cases was more 
effective in prolonging survival. University researchers 
found that the careful restriction of one amino acid 
was safe and did not impair the health of the patient. 
"We found that you can lower the amino acid in the 
blood without harming the patient and that patients 
will stay on this therapy," Young noted. 

There were definite advantages to this therapy over 
other current therapies. There were none of the side 
effects associated with the presently-used forms of 
chemotherapy for this type of cancer. Patients seem to 
do better when they can participate in administering 
their own therapy. "In this type of nutritional therapy 
patients lived as long as those on chemotherapy and 
in some cases longer," Young reported. The average 
survival period for patients with glioblastoma multi- 
forme undergoing surgery, radiation, and chemother- 
apy is 42 weeks. 

The 43 patients selected for the study had all 
undergone surgery for removal of as much of the brain 
tumor as possible and had undergone maximum 
recommended doses of x-ray treatment. The study 
group involved patients from 21 to 65 years of age, of 
either sex, with no atypical dietary habits or restric- 
tions, and no significant food allergies. In the study, 
patients at VCU and at the University of Tennessee 
were divided into four groups: those receiving diet 
therapy only; those receiving diet therapy combined 
with chemotherapy using the drug BCNU; those 
receiving BCNU only; and finally a control group that 
received no additional therapy following surgery and 
x-ray treatment, which is the most frequently 
employed therapy. 

For those patients receiving nutritional therapy, a 
sample of the brain tumor was assayed to identify the 
essential amino acid needed by the tumor. Under the 
direction of Banks, the "target" essential amino acid 
was identified by incubating minced tumor tissue and 
an amino acid media. The "tumor dependent" amino 
acids decreased during the three-hour incubation 
period. Although specific "tumor dependent" amino 
acids varied from patient to patient, some essential 
amino acids were identified more frequently than 
others as "tumor dependent" by this procedure. 

Based on each individual laboratory test result, 
Jennings designed diets deficient in the "tumor 
dependent" amino acid. The diets developed by 
Jennings met or exceeded the minimum requirements 
for all essential amino acids except the "tumor 
dependent" amino acid and met the 1974 National 
Research Council Recommended Dietary Allowances 
for other nutrients. 

The diet therapy began about two weeks following 
the completion of radiation therapy. The patients on 
the restricted diets were admitted to the university's 
Medical College of Virginia Hospitals' Clinical 
Research Center for one- or two-week periods to 
adjust to the diet regimen. Additional diet instruction 
was provided during bimonthly follow-up visits, and 
each patient was instructed to keep daily food records. 
During the bimonthly evaluation visits, the clinical 
evaluation included an assessment of the patient's 

plasma amino acid profile, nutritional status, clinical 
performance, and a brain scan to determine the status 
of the tumor. 

"It is still too early to evaluate the diet therapy as 
too few patients have been treated to provide concrete 
conclusions. However, we do know that diet therapy 
intervention, either alone or in combination with 
chemotherapy, is at least as safe and effective as other 
currently accepted therapies," said Young. 

Young has been involved in brain cancer research 
for ten years and has launched two other major 
innovative studies in therapy techniques. In one of 
the studies underway, Young is experimenting with 
the use of BCNU, a chemical proved to prolong 
survival in patients with primary brain cancer but 
which often causes pulmonary fibrosis. Young's 
research indicated that by injecting BCNU directly 
into the carotid artery, rather than injecting 
intravenously, the lung damage may be 
avoided. Intitial research also 
indicates that the BCNU 
may he even 

more effective in fighting a brain tumor when injected 
directly into the carotid artery. 

In previous brain cancer therapy research, Young 
experimented with the injection of lymphocytes 
directly into the brain tumor to stimulate the body's 
own immunotherapy response. He found that 
lymphocyte therapy was somewhat effective in fighting 
small brain tumors detected in the early stages of 

"The treatment of brain tumors presents a unique 
challenge because the primary cancer operation — that 
is radical surgery — obviously is unsatisfactory for 
cancers of the brain. That's why," Young concluded, 
"it is so important that we find new techniques for 
treating brain cancer and 
modify existing 




Fiscal Year 1982 

Current Operations The accompanying financial highlights reflect the 
growth in Virginia Commonwealth University and the Medical College of 
Virginia Hospitals as they rise in national prominence. 

Current funds revenues showed an increase of 10 percent over fiscal year 
1981 to a total of $282 million. Of these revenues, 34 percent was derived from 
the state for general support and indigent patient care. The remaining 66 per- 
cent was primarily self-generated through charges to students and patients and 
through grants and contracts awarded by private and federal sources. 

Current funds expenditures and mandatory transfers increased $29 million, 
or 1 1 percent, to $283 million during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1982. 
Unrestricted expenditures and mandatory transfers increased 13 percent, while 
the restricted category reflected a 2 percent increase. 

In research, VCU retained its status as one of the country's top 80 universi- 
ties in terms of federal dollars received to support basic and applied research. 

The quality of many programs offered by VCU improved during the fiscal 
year without actual budgetary increases. This enhancement was accomplished 
through the internal reallocation of funds and positions and the reduction of 
low demand programs based on recommendations concerning the university's 
goals and objectives and the best means to achieve them. 

Assets Total Current Funds assets increased by 5 percent to $70 million. 
Cash and temporary investments increased $2.2 million, or 10 percent, while 
accounts receivable increased $0. 7 million, or 2 percent. Cash and temporary 
investments constitute 35 percent of total Current Funds assets as of June 30, 
1982. This figure compares with 33 percent as of the prior fiscal year-end and 
reflects an increase in institutional liquidity. 

Plant Fund assets increased $27.8 million, or 9 percent, during the fiscal 
year. This increase is net of a $37.8 million increase in total investment in 
plant and a $10 million decrease primarily in cash and temporary investments 
and capital appropriations receivable from the state. 


Fivelfear Comparison 1978^82 

Fiscal Years 






Current funds revenues 

Student tuition 

$ 22,653 











State appropriations 






Patient revenues 






Auxiliary enterprises 












Total revenues (in thousands of dollars) 






Current funds expenditures, transfers, 

and additions to working capital 

Education and general 






Auxiliary enterprises 












Net additions (deductions) to plant funds, sinking funds, 

and working capital 

( 755) 










Current Funds Revenues 

Current Funds Expeni 


Fiscal Year 1982 

Fiscal Year 1982 

other y^ "^V '^^^^ 




ULllCl _^ ^V 

^'^ /\ \ 34% 


\^ research, and 


\ publi 

ic service 

contracts and ^^^^\. \ 




grants ^^^^^^ 



I hn; 

^P^ I 

mcial aid 

auxiliary T^ y^ / 1 



^-~y ant 

1 support 

enterprises \^ / / patient 





T'° \/ y revenue 

hospitals \^ 

/ auxiliary 

student tuition ^ '^ 36% 



^ _— -^ 


and fees 



P: 1 student/patient revenues 

|_ I state general fund appropriations 

^1 sponsored program revenues 

educational and general 

I I hospitals 

^1 auxiliary 

Virginia Commonwealth University 
Board of Visitors 

Douglas Ludeman, rector 

W. Roy Smith, vice-rector 

Daniel T. Balfour 

Margaret P. Bemiss 

Dr. Thomas E. Butt 

Dr. Custis L. Coleman 

Benjamin W. Cotten 

F. Willson Craigie, Jr. 

Dr. Sigsby W. Gayle 

Robert J. Grey 

Philip B. Morris 

Dr. Harold I. Nemuth, secretary 

William G. Reynolds, Jr. 

Rhoda Thalhimer 

Anne M. Whittemore 

Jack H. Wyatt 


Vance Gelleri 

Phc}tD^aphy. The dynamics of dance 
Joe Mahone-y 

Photography. An education in real estate 
Dennis McWaiers 

Phatography, Reviudizing t/ie capital aiy 
Scott Wnght 

iiiustTaaon. Easing the pain of divorce | VCU PUBLI CATIONS ] 

iUusiTauon. Expecting the unexpected